Lex Meyer – Immortal Truth About Life After Death
Ian Stamps – The Final Countdown: A Study in Revelation
Richard Phillips – Biblical Parenting 4: Formative Instruction of Children
June 29. We couldn’t help but enjoy all the free publicity Apple was giving to our special day.
It was the spring of 2007, and our upcoming wedding date was plastered on billboards and seemed to appear just about everywhere online and in print ads. Months before we had landed on this date for our wedding. But long before that, the tech giant had pinpointed June 29, 2007, for the much-celebrated release of a new device called the “iPhone.”
So, on the same day, ten years ago now, we debuted with the iPhone. We promised each other, “Till death do us part,” and thought we’d easily outlast this new iPod with a monthly phone bill. We’ll see. The iPhone may still be strong a decade later, but our for-life vows to each other are much firmer even than a for-profit’s commitment to a product, even if it has sold more than a billion units in ten years.
One, Simple, Impossible Verse
Ephesians 5:22–33 is the classic Bible text on marriage. It’s a critical place for Christian couples to regularly return to get their bearings. It’s often read at weddings, and often referenced in articles, sermons, and books on marriage. But in our ten years of marriage, it has not been the most significant biblical passage for us. If I had to pick one, it would come a few verses earlier, before the focus turns explicitly to marriage. It’s just one, simple verse:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
I went to a conference a few years ago and sat in a room with a hundred other women, perched on the edge of my chair with my notebook and pen in hand. A mother of six children got up to speak, looking thin and radiant with her long blonde hair and perfectly made up face. Her clothes were freshly pressed and fashionable, and she had a humble yet confident air about her. She showed us graphic after lovely graphic filled with the brilliant ways that she teaches her children scripture. With the year-long schedules of their family worship times. With gorgeous pictures of her family on mission trips in exotic faraway places, her children lined up in a stair-step row in their crisp white shirts and dresses.
I scribbled like crazy in my notebook, wanting to remember everything this super Christian mom had to say so I could go home and whip my family into spiritual shape. We had no scripture flashcards or carefully cultivated family worship curriculum. We barely had time to say bedtime prayers at night after busy school days and after-school activities. I felt like the world’s most underachieving mother when it came to my kids’ spiritual development because I didn’t have a specific twenty minute time set aside every day to teach my kids how to be a Christian.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Acts 2:37
In these words there is shown a thorough wounding of the hearts of these men when they had heard of the greatness of their sin. Therefore observe that contrition in a new-born soul ordinarily is in proportion to his former vanity. To whom much is forgiven, they love much: and this is a fountain of evangelical repentance. As a traitor condemned to die, receiving a pardon, would wonderfully break his heart to think he should be so villainous to so gracious a prince, so it is with a Christian that beholds God’s mercy to him.
Christians after their conversion desire to see their sins to the utmost, with all the circumstances that make them hateful, such as the object, nature, person, time, age, etc., in which, or how they were done, that so they may be more humbled for them.
The issue of whether scripture denounces the practice of homosexuality or whether such prohibitions are merely the concoction of fundamentalist sympathizers is increasingly a central point of discussion in today’s society. The question of biblical doctrine and ethical behavior in relation to the permissiveness of homosexuality within the church is at a crossroads. Many denominations are increasingly allowing openly homosexual church members to attain positions of leadership with little or no condemnation. It is evident there is a dilemma on how to approach this divisive and controversial issue from both a theological and ethical perspective. This paper will examine the efforts by the homosexual community to reframe the discussion away from its traditional biblical and societal moorings while demonstrating the clear biblical design for proper sexual relationships found in both the Old and New Testaments. It will be clearly shown Scripture teaches homosexual behavior violates God’s original design for love and sexuality while bringing to the fore the biblical doctrine that sexual conduct should be confined strictly within the boundaries of a covenant marriage relationship between a man and woman.
OLD TESTAMENT ARGUMENTS PRESENTED IN FAVOR OF HOMOSEXUALITY
As noted by Professor Alex Montoya, “Much of the debate which has arisen over the issue of homosexuality comes from the approaches homosexual advocates have used in interpreting the Scriptures.” Supporters of the homosexual agenda, to include active homosexuals as well as clergy and increasingly denominational councils, have taken the position that homosexuality is not explicitly condemned in Scripture and thus should be tolerated. This attitude has resulted in not just the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle but also the ordination of homosexuals to positions of leadership in the church. Numerous scriptures have been utilized in the Old Testament to challenge the traditional orthodox position that homosexuality is defined in Scripture as sexual perversion. While not exhaustive, the following discussion outlines the major passages in the Old Testament appealed to by homosexual advocates as indicative of either Scripture’s ambivalence towards homosexual behavior or at a minimum, the cultural limitations of any laws in Scripture that may be viewed as denouncing homosexuality. Continue reading “Michael Boling – Ethical Position Paper on Homosexuality”
True knowledge of God manifests itself in love for all the saints. Growing maturity in Christ evidences itself in growing love for His people. Does an individual possess a lot of knowledge regarding doctrine and theology? Great, we can never gain enough knowledge of doctrine and theology. Let us pursue knowing God with all our minds. The man who stops growing in knowledge of God ceases seeking God. But here is the essential question, has that knowledge heightened our love for the saints? What does our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ look like? Christians love Christians. And the more we grow in Christ, the more we will love His bride.
In Colossians 1, Paul thanks God for the love that the Colossian Christians have for all the saints (1:4). Agape love—that over-analyzed and still misunderstood word in our Evangelical circles—contains the idea of pro-active care or concern for another. A concern so great that a person willingly sacrifices their own interests for another. This kind of love marks the Colossian Christians.
One of the penitential psalms, Psalm 51 was written by David after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan. Nathan declared that David had grievously sinned against God in the taking of Bathsheba to be his wife and in the murder of her husband, Uriah.
It’s important to see the anguish and heartfelt remorse expressed by David, but we must also understand that repentance of the heart is the work of God the Holy Spirit. David is repentant because of the influence of the Holy Spirit upon him. Not only that, but as he writes this prayer, he is writing it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit demonstrates in Psalm 51 how He produces repentance in our hearts. Keep this in mind as we look at the psalm.
One of the most devastating attacks on the life and health of the church throughout all of church history has been what is known as the ecumenical movement — the downplaying of doctrine in order to foster partnership in ministry between (a) genuine Christians and (b) people who were willing to call themselves Christians but who rejected fundamental Christian doctrines.
In the latter half of the 19th century, theological liberalism fundamentally redefined what it meant to be a Christian. It had nothing to do, they said, with believing in doctrine. It didn’t matter if you believed in an inerrant Bible; the scholarship of the day had debunked that! It didn’t matter if you believed in the virgin birth and the deity of Christ; modern science disproved that! It didn’t matter if you embraced penal substitutionary atonement; blood sacrifice and a wrathful God are just primitive and obscene, and besides, man is not fundamentally sinful but basically good! What mattered was one’s experience of Christ, and whether we live like Christ. “And we don’t need doctrine to do that!” they said. “Doctrine divides!” Iain Murray wrote of that sentiment, “‘Christianity is life, not doctrine,’ was the great cry. The promise was that Christianity would advance wonderfully if it was no longer shackled by insistence on doctrines and orthodox beliefs” (“Divisive Unity,” 233).
In 1955, an amateur fossil hunter found a bizarre fossil in Illinois. To this day, the exact nature of this monster remains a mystery.
As a kid, I loved monsters. King Kong, Godzilla, Dracula, and Frankenstein (among others) all vied for top honors. One reason monsters are fun is the fear they evoke. Another is the thrill of imagining new creatures unlike anything we find in nature. The word that “monster” comes from (Latin monstrum) can have both meanings. On the one hand, it can suggest something ominous, evil, awful, or repulsive. On the other, it can simply mean abnormal.
In 1955 an amateur fossil hunter found a strange fossil, commonly called the Tully monster (genus Tullimonstrum), that puzzles scientists to this day. At first glance, the “monster” may appear somewhat frightening. To a biologist, however, the monstrosity in its name derives not so much from the fear it evokes as from its mingling of unusual parts.
The unexpected in nature makes us all, even professional paleontologists like me, uneasy. We prefer not to have “monster mysteries”; we want every creature to make sense within our understanding of the world.